Notice I did not say TRICK to building your social network size… I don’t believe in tricks, not when it comes to building networks of people. The short and skinny of building a large social network is to get involved with new people, be interesting and non obtrusive.
Success in social networking can happen two ways.
- Be famous
- Be outgoing
Being famous gives you an automatic advantage when it comes to growing your social network. Since most of us don’t have the fame advantage, we have to resort to number two, be outgoing.
Think of social networking as meeting as many new people as possible. Without fame, the only way you can meet new people is to “follow” them and look for constructive (and/or creative) ways to engage them in conversation.
The entire process is that simple. But let’s break each step down and analyze.
When you follow other people, your main screen will show their posts. My suggestion is to create a “circle” just for the strangers you follow. In my list of circles, I have a grout called “Netmet”. Every person I don’t know whom I follow becomes a member of the Netmet circle. This way I can isolate these people for topic surfing.
I also create additional circles to accommodate my business and personal networks. With Google+, we can isolate posts by circles. Sometimes I just want to communicate with friends and family members.
Follow People You Admire First
There are lots of different opinions on who you should have in your network. Some suggest you be cautious and check out every person you follow to make sure they are the “right” people you want to be associated with. I don’t subscribe to this strategy. My feeling is I want to add as many people to my communication channel as possible. I don’t believe sins of others roll down to me: so I follow just about anyone. My only rules are as follows. I will not follow:
- People who don’t have English profile text
- People who are overtly sexual or political (*)
- People without real sounding names (**)
(*) – One comment does not eliminate someone automatically. It is easy to remove people later, but sometimes people just rant online and thus they should not be judged as of no value.
(**) – I make exceptions for known businesses or not-for-profit groups.
Follow People Who Follow Those You Admire
For example, I am a software engineer geek and I admire software developers at Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. I find the profiles of those software engineers and then I follow everyone who is also following those software engineers.
For some businesses, it may be more advantageous to be strategic in your follows. For example, let’s say your business offering is excellent for people who love dogs. Following dog lovers can allow you to insert yourself in those social channels that are attractive to prime business prospects. That said, you’ll need to be careful not to jump in and try to sell– that is called SPAM. I’ll write more on how to use your personality to attract people to your service offering.
Add To The Discussion – Don’t Sell
This should be obvious, but sometimes we make mistakes and assume everyone is interested in what we do. The reality of social network marketing is those you are following have no interest in what you do, only what you contribute to their discussions. If your contributions are interesting, then they will follow you and, thus, take an interest in you as a person.
Key to social network marketing: It doesn’t count until they follow you and take action.
Now it gets interesting… Mostly because I put the stuff you should do first last. BEFORE you start bringing people to your profile, you need to create your interest chain. Your interest chain is a reflection of you as a person. It includes:
- Previous Posts
- Google Profile
- Buzz Posts (if you have)
If you are new to Google+, then you are not likely to have many posts, but before you can build a large following, you will need to post constructive, interesting, funny or friendly messages.
+1’s are those posts you add to your G+ account as articles of interest. While it is OK to +1 your website pages and blog articles, your +1’s should be reflective of those topics of personal interest. How do you add +1’s? You find the Google +1 icon on your favorite websites. Click it and a link to that website page / post is added to your Google+ account.
Buzz Posts – Buzz is Google version of Twitter. If you don’t have Google Buzz, don’t worry. In the long run, Google+ should completely replace Google Buzz.
Photos – A picture is worth a 1,000 words. The photos you have in your profile can reveal volumes about you as a person.
Final Words of Advice
Social networking takes time, so do things you enjoy and seek personal knowledge to enhance your life. If you only focus on business, then you are very likely to get discouraged and quit long before you gain any business.